In stylish form
By STEVE SPINKS
HE'S the best dressed man in the Marist Brothers rugby league team.
And he should be.
After all, Adrian Gooley's family does own and operate Gooley's Menswear shops throughout the Northern Rivers.
But it's been his smart form on the field, which will be on show against Casino this evening at Queen Elizabeth Park, Casino, that has impressed many in the Brethren camp this season.
Gooley plays an integral role on the wing for Brothers in the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League competition as well as being the Rams first choice goalkicker.
In football circles the fact that he is a winger, a goalkicker and runs a menswear shop makes him a prime target ... for his team-mates.
"He's (Gooley) a very slick man," chuckled Brothers coach Craig Hodges.
"He's a great advertisement for the shop.
"But the boys let him know if he has an off day with the boot.
"When he went through a rough patch at the start of the year some of them tried to convince him that he's left-footed."
The 21-year-old has been on the fringe of the Rams first grade outfit for a couple of seasons, but it hasn't been until this year that he has really cemented a spot in the starting line-up.
"His biggest problem is I don't think he saw himself as an A-grader," Hodges said.
"He's always come up for a few weeks filling in knowing in the back of his mind he'd probably get punted by the end of the year.
"This year he's seen an opportunity there for himself and he's matured into an A-grader, which he is.
"He trains hard with his kicking and has a great work ethic."
Gooley is running second behind Cudgen's Craig Thurston as the NRRRL's top pointscorer.
Today's match against the rejuvenated Cougars is an important clash for both sides.
Brothers are aiming at remaining in the top three and need to win against Casino to do that.
There is a possibility the Brethren can sneak into the top two if they win all their remaining matches.
For the Cougars, they are looking for their sixth straight victory.
They have staged a remarkable turnaround mid-season and would be lamenting their slow start to the season.
Putting extra emphasis on the day is the grand final reunion between the Marist Brothers and Casino sides of 1985.
Casino won the decider that year and word is Brothers are hoping to gain some revenge in the touch football square-up during the afternoon.
The 1995 Under-18s Cougars premiership winning side is also invited to attend.
Under-18s kick-off at 2.45pm.
MARIST BROTHERS: Fullback, Nathan Tolley; wingers, Adrian Gooley, Rod McFarlane; centres, Niko Vakararawa, Graham Smallwood; five-eighth, Jake Campbell; halfback, Brent Peterson; props, Chris Farrell, Simon Andrews; hooker, Scott Gibson; second-rowers, Luke Scott (c), Kev Walker; lock, Al Campbell. Bench: Tim Tredigo. Coach: Craig Hodges.
CASINO: Fullback, Ben Birney; wingers, Matt Johnson, Todd Walker; centres, Gary Roberts, Tim Stark, Clint Vidler (one to be ommitted); five-eighth, Cameron George; halfback, Matt Roberts; props, Dene Petty, Chris McGrath (c); hooker, Jason Blakey; second-rowers, Chad Pearce, Andy Barker; lock, Adrian Robson. Bench: Brad Birney. Coach: Cavill Heugh.